For years now we've been dying to stop by Dominic Palumbo's farm, Moon in the Pond. Given our enormously high expectations, it would have been easy to leave disappointed. But we didn't, not even a little bit.
Dom has been at the helm of Moon in the Pond for the last 20 years and shows no signs of stopping. A leader of the Slow Food movement in the Berkshires, he runs his farm on biodynamic principals in which animals, vegetables, fruits and nuts all live in pastoral harmony. All of the animals are heritage breed, chosen because they are perfectly suited for our Northeastern environment, and given lots of space to jump, roll and peck around. There are large black pigs running through the woods, Scottish Highlands grazing in the pastures, New Hampshire chickens scratching in pens planted with rye, Dorset sheep nibbling on the hillside, goat kids leaping for feed, and turkeys, ducks and game hens ranging free.
As for fruits and veggies, Moon in the Pond only grows heirloom varieties. Here again Dom has put enormous effort into researching and seeking out the particular vegetables that will thrive in his beds - like Beedy’s Camden kale, one of his current preoccupations. As if he doesn't have enough to do, his next project hopes to be a community seed exchange, and eventually developing strains that are adapted just for this region.
The farm sells your standard meat and eggs both directly to passers-by and to local purveyors, but some of the most exciting things being made here are the value-added products. Like every other detail on the farm, Dom's charcuterie, honey and jams are a reflection of the rich diversity at Moon in the Pond. His honeys are flavored with the farm's hazelnuts, the jams are seasoned with the farm's herbs and the lardo is cured with farm-grown bay leaves. Even the lardo's curing box is made from local marble. And don't get us started on his prosciutto, head cheese and liverwurst.
As Dom walked the landmarks of his beautiful farm, energetically pontificating about everything from Wendell Berry to the history of his favorite strain of onion, to the science of seed germination and ancient Italian recipes, we followed totally mesmerized by his passion and know-how. In an ideal world all farms would look like Moon in the Pond and all farmers would be like Dom. In the meantime, we are pretty lucky that he's just down the road from us, incredibly generous with his time and space. You better believe that when it comes time for us to set up our own small farm, we'll be looking to Moon in the Pond for inspiration.